Tony Bennett's San Francisco Turning 50

The song that has become Tony Bennett's theme, I Left My Heart in San Francisco, hits its 50th anniversary this Monday. Bennett recorded the song on January 23, 1962.

The song earned Tony his very first Grammy Award for Record of The Year and has been nominated again via his new Duets II album which is up for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album next month at the Grammys.

The song was written by George Cory and Douglass Cross and presented to Bennett in 1961 by pianist Ralph Sharon as they prepared to go on the road and play San Francisco for the very first time. The song was rehearsed after a show at The Vapors Restaurant in Hot Springs, Arkansas and added to the set when Tony performed at the Venetian Room at the Fairmont in San Francisco days later.

The song went down so well that Tony recorded the song during his next sessions in New York. It was originally released as the ‘B-side’ to Once Upon A Time. “I was convinced that Once Upon A Time was going to be a smash and a few weeks after it came out the Columbia rep called me and said, ‘Turn the record over, San Francisco is really catching on,’” Tony said.

The song has been rarely covered by other artists. It now played after every Giants home-game at their stadium.

Bennett will return to the Venetian Room on Valentines Day, February 14 and sing the song again. Proceeds will go to the University of California, San Francisco’s Division of Cardiology.

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